SPL v Kilmarnock
DUNFERMLINE 0 KILMARNOCK 2 Date: 26/12/02
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League
Attendance: 5847, Kick Off: 15:00
It was bound to happen sooner or later but the proud 15 month record of home runs without a defeat to anyone other than the Old Firm came to an end with the Boxing Day fixture against Kilmarnock.
Entertaining and end to end it was, but Dunfermline failed to take the few chances that came their way. There was no drastic change in tactic and the substitutions came too late to make any real impact.
The Pars made one change from the team that started the last SPL match against Aberdeen - Chris McGroarty was brought in and Steven Hampshire found himself on the bench.
Dunfermline started promisingly and when Lee Bullen sent over a dangerous cross from the right in the sixth minute Jamie Fowler had to be quick to react and prevent McGroarty from getting in an early shot. Then Jason Dair hit a shot that was easily dealt with by Marshall.
Play swung to the McCathie end as Kilmarnock attacked through McLaren and he won another corner. Barry Nicholson easily defended the corner and it was back to the other end Dair and Bullen combining to provide Crawford with a ball that narrowly failed to be just perfect.
Despite the pouring rain the homesters were playing good ground balls without reaping rewards. Scott Thomson`s run midway through the half set up Dair on the left but his cross was turned behind by Chris Innes.
The Nicholson corner looked to be adequately under control when Marshall came out to collect but the keeper dropped the catch and caused his team temporary concern. In the 25th minute Thomson drove forward displaying his captain`s qualities and won another corner off Greg Shields but this time Dair`s ball was easily clutched by Marshall.
Marshall conceded another corner shortly afterwards when he let a seemingly tame shot spin under him and past his right hand post. The corner caused no problem directly but the ball did find McGroarty on the left and when he tried to pick out Brewster the keeper again came for the ball and dropped it. This time Craig Brewster was unlucky to miss the chance of shooting.
On the half hour Bullen swung over another ball from the right wing that Shields cleared only as far as Dair but his shot was deflected wide. Next Brewster fed a ball into the path of Bullen but he had to leave it to Nicholson to have a weak shot at goal.
A minute from half time McGroarty sent over a ball from the left that just cleared the heads of both Crawford and Brewster leaving Marshall to save well. Before the break McGroarty laid a ball off to Dair whose attempt to beat three defenders before shooting failed at the final hurdle.
Goalmouth incident was sparse despite the open attacking of both teams. The first 45 brought much Pars control but Innes`s marking of Brewster and Dillon on Crawford ensured that the chances were few.
Half Time 0-0
The second half started with the visitors` Mahood and McLaren forcing Mason into conceding a corner. Then it was McGroarty displaying his skills by going into a tackle only to stand up in possession. The young blond then found Crawford whose ball to Nicholson almost sent Brewster through on goal and as the ball rebounded off Craig`s heels.
There were groans of disappointment at the misfortune and the bad luck continued in the 57th minute. Nicholson sent McGroarty wide and was back in position at the head of the penalty box to hit the ball over the crossbar from 20 yards.
Next when Nicholson`s pass allowed Dair to break down the left flank the cross failed to meet either McGroarty or Brewster on the edge of the box. Andrius Skerla was able to press forward in this match more than most and his run forward in the 58th minute won a free kick in a dangerous position. Scott Thomson was unlucky to find the defensive wall adequate for the purpose.
A McLaren cross found McSwegan inside the left side of the Pars penalty box. Dargo took the knock own and somehow accomplished the feat of clearing the crossbar from underneath it.
Skerla`s ball to Brewster put Nicholson in a shooting position but his shot ended up in the McCathie Stand. Crawford got the better of Dillon to race down the right but Greg Shields was waiting at the penalty box to perform the sweeper`s role.
Fowler cleared a Crawford cross only as far as Mason and he pushed out left towards McGroarty. The ball was despatched in the direction of Brewster but his header was wide. In the 65th minute the Pars came their closest to scoring when Scott Thomson found himself in possession inside the box. He managed a shot through the crowded area but it was not one of his fiercest and Gary McSwegan was on the line to clear off at the left post.
From looking likely to get the opener that the 5847 crowd expected the Pars then let Kilmarnock sweep up the park and score through McSWEGAN. A simple ball wide to Fowler on the right was good enough to clear the defence and let the experienced forward stab in at the far post.
The crowd urged Dunfermline to stage a comeback. Nicholson had a likely cross into the box that was turned away for a corner and he followed that by a good run that failed to deliver the killer pass.
Ten minutes from the end McSwegan missed an open goal after Stillie and Dargo clashed. Still the Pars pushed forward; Thomson chipped into the penalty box but just over Brewster and Crawford so Marshall coped easily. Then when Dair took a short corner to Crawford. Jason took the ball round to the edge of the box before unleashing a right footed shot that was both high and wide.
The Dunfermline substitutions came with only six minutes to go. Too late to make an impact although the Kilmarnock sub did have better joy. The introduction of Kris Boyd as a late sub has sunk the Pars before but this time a mix up between Bullen and Skerla was accepted by BOYD. The sub coolly buried the ball in the far right corner as he shot at an angle from the left.
The added three minutes brought no better Dunfermline fortunes so the home record was gone and as it was on 30th September 2001, Kilmarnock won by two goals to nil.